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How much to bring/make?

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BeeMaiden

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I've got 3 shows coming up this fall within 2 weeks of each other so I am preparing now. I am concerned though that I might not have adaquate supply for 3 shows back to back. I have aprox 250-300 bars in stock right now of 13 different scents (with plans for 2 Christmas soaps) these shows aren't huge, but I felt like my soap was selling really well considering the woeful lack of foot traffic at my farmers market.
How much do y'all usually bring to a fair/festival?
I will also have beeswax lotion and lip balm and honey scrubs.
 

navigator9

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The answer to this question is always....."as much as you can". It's always better to bring too much, than to be selling really well and run out. If you've never done these shows before, it's hard to predict how they'll go. Even if you have done them, it's hard to predict. So it's better to have to cart some home, than to be kicking yourself for not having enough. I always try to bring at least 200 bars, plus gift sets, and specialty soaps, individual molds, etc. Keep extra stock under your table, and refill as you run out. I hope you sell them all!!!
 

BeeMaiden

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I was planning to take my entire stock, but my query was more of, should I make more because I am concerned about selling out at one and then not having enough inventory for the next - which would actually be awesome, but I have to pay the fees in advance.
 

galaxyMLP

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If you are worried about it, I would make more if you have the time. Its not like soap goes "bad" as long as its not a recipe that goes rancid. Worse case, if the scent is no longer in season, you can sell it at a discount. Thats just my thought!
 

Relle

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Are you new to soaping ? Just wondering - from your original post when you joined.

Hello from Georgia

Hi, I'm BeeMaiden from Georgia. I've been making soap since March. It's awesome
 

not_ally

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I'm too tired to get into it. I'll just say what we are all thinking though: it seems like it is too soon to sell your soap unless there is something we are missing.
 

spenny92

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It's a little tiring seeing threads turn from a genuine question to a selling-too-early lecture. She's made hundreds of bars and has been doing a farmer's market - the fact that she's a member of this forum is hopefully testament to the fact that she knows to test her soap and only sell them fully cured.

I don't want to start a war about this, as happens all too often on here, but it's not like she's asking what gel looks like when she's making soaps for a craft show.

BeeMaiden, I think the general consensus is to bring as much as you can make and take with you. Better to have some leftover than to sell out! Good luck. :)
 

Spice

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yeah take as much as you can, it's better to have more than not enough.
 

The Efficacious Gentleman

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It's a little tiring seeing threads turn from a genuine question to a selling-too-early lecture. She's made hundreds of bars and has been doing a farmer's market - the fact that she's a member of this forum is hopefully testament to the fact that she knows to test her soap and only sell them fully cured.

I don't want to start a war about this, as happens all too often on here, but it's not like she's asking what gel looks like when she's making soaps for a craft show........ :)

That's all well and good, but if she started in March then she hasn't been able to test these batches very much at all.

You might find it tiring (I think mainly as you were someone in the same boat) but that doesn't mean to say that people shouldn't give the best advice as they see it based on their experiences. There was another soaper recently who had thought about rushing in to selling but then realized that there is much more too it and that they will just make soap for a while and see how it goes. Things posted on a forum are rarely just for the person in question, or it would be pm-based.
 

cmzaha

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Also what some do not think about, you may think your new soap is awesome but customers may not. Takes time to tell a good soap from a less than good soap. The markets in my area have a big influx of new soapers thinking they are going to make quick and easy money and I am getting comments from people saying they would never use handmade soap again, because they bought a bar that did not last, was to harsh, to much soap scum... It can really kill sales when someone gets a not so great soap. One can make a thousand bad bars if the recipe is not good. So Spenny some of us will continue to reiterate it is bad to sell to soon. I guarantee my first year of soaps were not even close to what I make now. Which is why I have made 5 years in my market and outlast the competition.
Back to the original question, take as much as you can. No one can predict not knowing the area you live in or the customer base. I will say a selection of 13 bars is very little. I take 40-50 different bars just to my weekly markets, as does another forum member who sells regularly at markets
 

Susie

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Lest you think that everyone says that to limit the competition, bad soap affects everyone. My (ex) MIL and FIL won't use my soap because they bought a bar that was not properly cured and it was harsh, drying, and melted too fast. I mean they won't even try my soap. Makes me sad. Bad soap on the market affects everyone.
 

spenny92

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I know that everyone advises not to sell for x amount of time, and I understand the reasons behind that and agree to some extent. I just feel that if someone is already selling, that advice would be redundant to them - especially if they are doing well, as the original poster seems to be from doing farmer's markets etc. I'm sure they are aware of the reasons why they're advised not to sell too soon, especially if they've read even just a handful of posts related to that on this forum.

TEG, I don't think that experience or advice was necessary on this particular topic, that's all. Perhaps if the question had been that she was thinking of selling, then the advice would be warranted and appreciated - but she's already selling and the question was purely about how much stock she should consider taking to a show. There are plenty of other relevant threads where that advice would be very, very useful - and I'm sure it helps a lot of people.

I just don't think it was necessary to flog that horse on this particular post - had she asked another question about something which someone who is selling should know (ie, what does trace look like?) then that would be a different story.

Like I said, not out to argue - just a difference in opinion. :)

EDIT: I'm not sure why anyone is assuming that OP's soap is not fully cured or is "bad" soap. For all we know, she has used the same recipe since March.
I know that bad soap affects the entire soap market, but I think it's a little unfair to tar this person with that brush. Again, perhaps a conversation for another, more relevant thread.
 
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navigator9

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It's really hard to take a stand against selling too early without sounding like a cranky know it all. I think that those of us who do, (myself included) are just trying to look out for all of us handmade soapmakers. The problem is, when you're a beginning soapmaker, you don't know all the things you don't know. You may have been making soap for a while, and it's good soap, and your friends and family like it, but soapmaking is one of those skills that never really reaches a peak. You can have made soap for years and years, but you still learn something new with almost every batch. So by waiting a little while to start selling, you're not going to lose out on a fortune's worth of money, and your product will be just that much better. I've pretty much stopped posting about not selling too early, because it's just not something that newbies want to hear, but I feel like I had to support my fellow soapmakers who share this opinion, whether it's welcome or not.

I don't think anyone meant to flog a dead horse, lecture anyone, or assume that the OP's soap was not fully cured or bad, just a general feeling that there are lots of newbies who jump the gun, and would be better off to wait, that's all.
 

not_ally

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After 8 mo's/100+ batches, I still don't know what I don't know. I don't ever expect to, completely, but I would want to get a lot closer if I was selling.

I threw out almost all of my first 30 or 40 batches - hundreds of bars - after the first few months b/c I realized how hard the water was in my area, and I didn't even want to *give* those bars to people and have them deal w/the soap scum. They were pretty enough, and actually felt good, I just couldn't square up the idea of my giftees having to deal w/all the scum.

I have been working with the same basic formula for about 6 mos, and it is not a tricky one, mostly lard, a bit of CO/OO/castor, plus some other things that work for me, I am not being cryptic, just don't want to type it all out and talk about why I think they work. After that amount of time w/the same formula I am not really afraid that it is going to create problems for the people I give them to.

But colors? No idea how they will end up in several months, I use lots of them. FO's? *Really* no idea, I have so many, and have tested so many, they are extremely variable. If I was spending $5 on a bar of soap because of the scent, took it home and it was gone in a month or two, I would be sad.

There are just a lot of things that could change over time.
 

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